Another rush day, but with better results. Plus, yay, my first win of the season. I can only go up from here! Unless, of course, I sink back down. That’s another possibility, now that I think about it.
1. What is the stage name of this pop music superstar?
I don’t think so. I’d have been biting my fingernails trying to identify most American pop singers. There’s no way I’m going to recognize Rain, a very famous person from South Korea.
2. The type of object in this photograph was, for most of its useful existence, colloquially named after what company?
A merciful gimme in a season that to date has not offered a lot of them. IBM.
3. Zeus Carver, Matt Farrell, General Ramon Esperanza, and Hans Gruber are all characters from what popular series of films?
A bewilderingly easy gimme in a season that to date has had hardly any of them. Die Hard.
4. The singer and actress Mary Martin won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical three times in her career, in 1950, 1955, and 1960. Name any two of the three shows for which she was honored.
Oh, good, theater! My comfortable teddy bear of a category! Mary Martin, sure… she was the star of Peter Pan before they decided to exclusively cast gymnasts in the role. So that’s one. And the other is… um…
My first thought was the not-exactly-well-known musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown, but I rejected this. Annie Get Your Gun? I know I’ve heard a soundtrack album with Ms. Martin singing on it. But that musical is closely tied to Ethel Merman, who must have been the original Broadway star, which means Mary couldn’t have won the Tony for it. She must have been in a revival or something.
Carousel? Maybe… didn’t like it… couldn’t summon up the memory of hearing her on the soundtrack.
Oh! Finally, The Sound of Music dawns on me and I am saved. South Pacific would have worked, too.
I knew even as I was pondering all this that I was going to receive zero points for the question, but it’s the principle of the thing.
5. Who was the NBA’s scoring leader for the recently concluded 2011-12 regular season (his third consecutive scoring title)?
Basketball. Why did it have to be basketball?
Oddly enough, a couple of weeks ago I was flipping through an old Sports Illustrated while my son was getting a haircut, and the cover story was about the rivalry between Lebron James, whose name I was able to remember, and… and another player whose name I had lost. Well, at least with Lebron James, I had an authentic hoops player to put into that blank, so that’s what I did. The correct answer: Kevin Durant, who was in fact the other player featured in that article. Ah well.
6. Some days are born ugly. From the very first light they are no damn good whatever the weather, and everybody knows it. This is the first line of a chapter called ‘Lousy Wednesday’ in a 1954 novel by John Steinbeck. What day comes next, which precedes Waiting Friday, and is the title of the book itself?
Somehow I knew the title of this book, and that knowledge was reinforced when I found myself looking at Steinbeck’s Wikipedia page only two or three days ago. My father had just finished The Grapes of Wrath and loved it, and our discussion sent me to Wikiland to read something about the guy. I assume next week we’ll see a question about the songwriter Paul Williams, as I was reading his Wiki page this morning.
Nonetheless, not a gimme. It took some time groping around in the mental fog until I had the right title: Sweet Thursday.